SOC458 Contemporary Issues in Turkey (Fall, Spring)

SU Center course required for undergraduate students. Turkey is a country with a rich history and a host of seeming contradictions. We explore the tensions and opportunities in this complex political and social landscape by examining key issues in contemporary Turkey and in its regional and global relations. After a brief review of its Ottoman past, we turn to the founding of the Turkish republic in 1923 and Turkey’s ongoing political dynamics: Turkish democratization, the role of the military and challenges to democratic consolidation, including persistent tensions between social/political Islam and secularism. We also discuss Turkish nationalism and the Kurdish question, as well as other issues related to gender, ethnic/religious minorities and human rights. In the last part of the course, we turn to foreign policy and transnational relations (and specifically the refugee crisis), examining Turkey’s historical and contemporary role and importance in the region, including its long-standing relationships with the United States and the European Union, its role in NATO, and its increasingly fraught relations with Russia and its Middle Eastern neighbors (Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia). In grappling with these issues and their complexities, we aim to move beyond common stereotypes about Turkey and towards a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of this crucial country. Cross-listed with IRP/PSC 458/MES 400.1/PAI 658, with additional work required for graduate students.

Department: Sociology

Location: Istanbul

Semesters: Fall, Spring

Credits: 3